Tonight, TNA brings us Open Fight Night, and the Bound for Glory Series gets underway with some call-outs. Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy were looking for the fan vote as to who would get to make that call-out tonight. Who got it?
Also, Sting is looking to form his own Main Event Mafia to battle Aces and Eights. Who is he picking?
This is a post-show style report tonight, as I was at an event that ran a bit longer than expected.
Show Open, live from Peoria, IL
We see Sting arrive, sans makeup and dressed in a suit.
They hype up the Bound for Glory Series with a video package. Everyone in the series is in the ring but for Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy. Hulk comes to the stage and puts over the ten guys in the ring. He says the other two guys qualified because of their Series wins prior.
Roode then comes out, followed by Hardy. Hogan says Jeff won the fan vote 68 to 32 to get the right for the first call-out. Hardy gets a mic but gets interrupted by Austin Aries. Aries says he'd love to be the guy Jeff calls out, but everyone knew it wasn't going to happen. He says Jeff is popular but doesn't want to get beat by the more popular Aries.
Daniels grabs the mic and tells Jeff to call out but either him or Kazarian because Jeff would end up starting with a bad defeat. Hardy says that all this is great but one guy made it personal and that was Bobby Roode - and that's who he's calling out. A brawl ensues into commercial.
Not surprising they went with Roode v. Hardy, and that's a good start. The brawl looked dumb though, because guys were half-fighting...just looked bad.
We get a video recap of the brawl and it didn't look any better afterward. They show a graphic to explain the points system.
Anderson makes his entrance. He says that since it's Open Fight Night, he gets to call someone out. He says he'll call out the "easy dub", Joseph Park.
Match #1 - Joseph Park vs. Mr. Anderson; Bound for Glory Series Match
Anderson lets Park work a side headlock then they chain wrestle. Anderson drops Park, then they repeat the cycle. Park slams Anderson the locks in the Boston Crab. DOC runs out for interference, and Park breaks the hold.
In the end, Anderson distracts the official, that allows DOC to hit a kick on Park. Anderson hits the Mic Check for the win.
Early matches in the series are often boring. This is a prime example.
The Aces gang is all together. Anderson says he proved he deserves to be VP. DOC speaks up and says Anderson has been skating backwards until DOC stepped in. DOC asserts he should be VP. An argument ensues until Bully yells for them to shut up. He says they'll vote on VP later, but right now there's business with Ray's wife to solve.
Jay Bradley makes his call-out, and it's Austin Aries.
Match #2 - Jay Bradley vs. Austin Aries; Bound for Glory Series Match
Aries attacks at the bell and dives on Bradley twice. Bradley kicks him off the top rope on the third one to take control. Bradley teases the Boom Stick, but Aries ducks and returns with kicks to the leg. He tries a corner splash but Bradley kicks him out of the air. Nice spot.
The finish comes when Bradley tries the Boom Stick again. Aries counters with a crucifix, then hits a corner drop kick. He follows with the Brainbuster for the win.
The match was alright, but as said before, the early matches end up being a bit meaningless. The Series always gets better at about the halfway point.
We get a recap of Sting announcing the reformation of the Main Event Mafia. Backstage, HerveyCam asks Sting what the plan is tonight. Sting says the Mafia grows tonight.
Sting asks someone out of frame if they're in. They shake hands, but it's not possible to tell who it is.
Elsewhere, Chavo hypes up Hernandez, and Hernandez makes his entrance. He calls out Daniels.
Match #3 - Hernandez vs. Christopher Daniels; Bound for Glory Series Match
Hernandez uses his power early and bumps Daniels all over the place. Daniels uses a well-placed low blow that the official doesn't see, and his the Best Moonsault Ever for the win.
Not likely we'll get repeats of this match, or the prior one. Ugh.
We get a shot of Brooke Hogan walking backstage.
Normally, I don't mark for Brooke - but she did look damn good tonight.
The next opportunity to call out is given to Kaz, and he calls out Magnus.
Match #4 - Magnus vs. Kazarian; Bound for Glory Series Match
This doesn't last too long, as after Kaz gets a few shots in, but Magnus locks on the Texas Cloverleaf for a submission win.
Worth noting that Magnus got ten points as opposed to the seven the other guys have won tonight.
Hogan is on the phone. Bully walks up behind him with the hammer, but Hogan feels him and grabs him. After slamming Ray against the wall, Hogan says he's glad Bully grew some balls and he should go ahead and hit him.
Bully asks if he looks like a guy who would attack with a hammer from behind. He says he wants to talk to Brooke, but Hogan says they're done. Bully asks if that's the case, why would Brooke stop Hulk from hitting Bully with the hammer. He tells "dad" he would see him later.
If they're turning Brooke, they need to pull the trigger tonight. They need to get there to continue the story, so waiting any longer won't work.
Brooke comes to the ring and stands at a podium. She puts over the ladies and says the Knockouts division will only get better. She says there are a few issues to deal with and asks for the Knockouts to come out. All of them do, including Eric Young and ODB as the Knockouts Tag Champions.
Mickie James gets her own entrance as champion. Mickie has a mic and she puts over winning the title and taking a shot at Velvet's leg. Brooke puts that aside but she needs to first address Eric Young. Young admits he's not a woman, but is the toughest guy in the ring at the moment. Brooke agrees, and he hands over the tag belts. He says it's national kissing day, and he and ODB make out the whole way to the back.
Brooke calls Velvet the heart and soul of the division, and knows she wants a rematch. Mickie says Velvet's knee isn't healed. Brooke says she's talked to Velvet's doctor, and she's cleared to work. She will get her rematch next week.
Gail gets a mic and says she's being overlooked. Brooke talks about her match with Taryn Terrell, and calls it good. She says the two will have a rematch in Las Vegas, and it will be in a ladder match. Brooke dismisses them, and the segment is over.
Rambling, disjointed, and even got heckled by the live crowd. The Knockouts have been good so far, but this was a terrible segment.
We get a recap video of Sting arriving, and him asking the mystery person to join the Mafia.
Hulk tells Brooke she did a good job out in the ring. He goes on to tell her she needs to leave since Bully wants to make a scene tonight. Brooke argues about it, but Hulk escorts her to a car and tells the driver to take her to the hotel.
We get a shot of Jeff Hardy, and Tenay moves into hyping the TNA Evolve app.
AJ Styles comes to the ring and gets a mic. He says it's simple. It's not about Aces and Eights or TNA - it's about him. He says it's about him becoming the next champion, not fame, glory or money. He says everyone's looking for a hero, but this was no place for a hero. He is sick of doin the right thing, so he's going to do his own thing.
Match #5 - Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles; Bound for Glory Series Match
Things start out evenly. Joe dumps AJ to the floor and teases a dive. AJ slides back in the ring and then to the apron where Joe kicks his legs and AJ lands on the apron face first.
Joe controls with methodical offense. AJ hits a drop kick and follows with a baseball slide as Christy Hemme tells us there's five minutes left. Styles rolls Joe back in the ring and tries a suplex but can't get him up. He hits a neckbreaker instead then goes up top. He jumps over Joe, then eats a powerslam when he tries to charge.
Joe tries a superplex, but AJ twists himself around and turns it into a cross-body type spot. Both men get up and AJ starts with strikes. Joe hits one in return that rocks Styles. He backs Styles up, but Styles ducks under him and locks on his Calf Killer hold.
Joe reverses that hold into a rear naked choke. Styles flips him over into a pinning predicament. Joe breaks the hold with one minute left in the match. They battle and wrestle until time expires and a bit beyond. Styles has a bloody nose as he leaves the ring.
Not the best we've seen between these two, but very good.
Timing is off tonight. It's live so I feel like I'm nit-picking, but to the same end it makes them look a bit bush league.
Bully is on the phone with Brooke. He asks her to come back because he needs to talk to her. He sends three guys from the gang to go make sure she gets back to the arena okay.
We get hype for the next One Night Only PPV event.
Hulk tells Chris Sabin, Kenny King and Suicide that whoever wins the triple threat match between them next Thursday could cash the belt in to take on Bully Ray on July 18. He wishes them luck and leaves. King pushes his way past the other two guys and leaves.
Match #6 - Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy; Bound for Glory Series Match
Roode attacks Hardy on the ramp, but Hardy drives him to the ring. Hardy hits some quick shots, but Roode is able to hit a slingshot move and take control. Hardy battles back and hits a low double kick into a drop kick.
After a glitch in my DVR, Jeff gets the pinfall.
Two weeks of set-up to get to a six minute match. Very odd. What I did get to see was good though.
Backstage, HerveyCam asks Sting if he's going to leave. Sting says he has business to attend to, so no.
Bully comes to the ring and puts over the X Division triple threat match and the Bound for Glory Series as 15 men coming for his title. Ray says he'll do anything to keep the title, so none of them want any of him. He says it's Open Fight Night, so he wants to call out someone. He doesn't want to fight because he's a lover, so he calls out his wife, Brooke Hogan.
He waits, then asks again. This time, some different music hits and Sting comes out. Sting says no lone wolf would pierce the corporate shield of Aces and Eights, so he went back to his family. Ray jaws with the fans for cheering Sting and asks Sting what he knows about family. He puts over his "singlehanded" win over Sting at Slammiversary and he can't challenge for the title again.
Sting agrees and says he can still get some retribution. He walks to the corner and starts disrobing. Ray says all he has to do is snap his fingers and his gang would come out. He threatens again and Sting keeps going. Ray snaps his fingers and calls for the gang, but no one comes out. Sting takes his shirt off and throws it in Bully's face. Ray calls for the gang a second time, but Sting points to the screen.
The gang is shown knocked out. Sting attacks, and Bully ducks out of the ring and heads up the ramp. He backs up the ramp, but Kurt Angle emerges to knock Bully down. He locks the Ankle Lock on him, and Sting gets in Bully's face while he taps. Sting and Angle pose to close out the show.
The crowd popped for Angle's arrival. That was about the only good thing I feel I can say about this segment. Old Man Angle saved Old Man Sting tonight, but didn't at the PPV? This really feels like a failure of a segment.
This really was a miss of an episode with iMPACT tonight. I'm willing to give a bit of a pass to the Bound for Glory Series, as the first week usually is a bit sluggish but there wasn't much buzz behind it. The Knockouts segment was just really, really bad. And they revealed that Kurt Angle, who was the "Godfather" of the original Main Event Mafia has joined Sting in the reformation. It really just left me disappointed.
Join me next Thursday for more iMPACT coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.